Jihadists and McCarthyites 1

October 21, 2005

If it were true that the strength of our case on campus extremism (most recently corroborated by The Sunday Times on October 16) relied on the link between City University and Sajiid Badat, the student terrorist who was offered a place there, David Rhind, City's vice-chancellor, might be justified in claiming it was weak ("Glees report on terror riles v-cs", October 14). But it does not.

The chilling reaction of the vice-chancellors you name shows they have not understood that our report was not about "City", "Sunderland", "Dundee" or "Swansea" universities. All miss the point. We have written about a problem that faces British higher education in general. Whether an individual was at one university rather than another actually makes no difference to our argument. What matters is the existence of extremist groups of many kinds on British campuses.

Rhind dismisses the evidence we adduce as "snippings" and "bad practice".

What evidence would he look at were he to examine this matter? Does he also discount the 2004 government report that declared that "young Muslims were being... targeted by extremist recruiters and organisations circulating on campuses"? Perhaps he agrees with Swansea's vice-chancellor who said publication of our report was of no advantage to "good community relations", falsely implying that Muslim students relish having Jihadists on their campuses. Presumably both will bin the new guidelines on campus extremism that Universities UK is preparing at this moment.

It is revealing that none of the vice-chancellors reflects on our recommendations (abolishing clearing, for example, or inviting police on to campuses), arguing instead that it is not in the national interest that we should speak as we find. Perhaps they mean their interest? Their displacement activity shows they have become part of the problem.

Anthony Glees and Chris Pope

Brunel University

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